IGN 5-6
Unmanned aerial systems in wildlife research: Current and future applications of a transformative technology

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
345, Baltimore Convention Center
Katie Christie, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, AB, Canada
Sophie L. Gilbert, Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Casey Brown, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Michael Hatfield, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Unmanned aerial systems, or “drones,” are emerging as a powerful tool for ecologists across disciplines, with applications to wildlife biology, plant ecology, remote sensing, and conservation. We examine how UASs have been used to collect novel data for wildlife research, and describe how this technology can improve upon traditional survey methods across a wide diversity of taxa. We found that while there are significant constraints on current applications of UASs, the technology has the potential to revolutionize data collection in wildlife ecology, greatly expanding the types of questions that could be asked and answered.